There was an interesting article on BBC Sport the other day about American golfer Tony Finau. It was highlighting the fact that since his win at the Puerto Rico Open in 2016, Finau has finished inside the top ten of PGA events, thirty times!
That’s an amazing statistic. Such consistency. A player who knows his own game. The article however, went on to question why the Salt Lake City pro had failed to convert those top ten’s into tournament wins.
Could he be trying too hard. Thinking you have to play perfect golf to win? That 8/10 isn’t good enough. You have to be at 10/10.
Winning is something you learn as much as any competition skill. And of course, when you go on a winning drought, you can force your hand too much to try to find that elusive win. Meaning instead of playing ball to target and maintaining the same clarity of focus that has got you into the mix, you lose some of the critical elements of your process.
In other words you tend to think more about the scoreboard than you have done at any other point in the round. And that can seep into your sub=conscious. Creating the feeling that your score is now important, rather than the process by which you make the score.
And when your score becomes more important than your process, you can lose the relaxed feeling on your swing. Or read your putts with hard eyes instead of a natural soft focus. Because as you close out your round, EVERYTHING has become too important. Thus, there is no margin for error. Timings lose their precision. Green readings lose their clarity.
The key? To TRUST in what you are doing. To TRUST in the process that has got you into contention. Change nothing. Maintain the bubble of concentration. Keep your focus on ball to target. Nothing else.
Then, one day, winning comes to you. You don’t chase it. It is drawn to you like a magnet. It may make you feel uncomfortable for a time. Me – a winner? Surely not! That’s someone else.
But gradually you begin to recognise the feeling. Become more comfortable with it. Relax into it. Because winning is your friend. You might think you will become unpopular if you are a winner. No longer one of the lads. Different from the rest.
Which means you find ways to NOT WIN, because you don’t want to get thrust outside your comfort zone. But eventually you realise there is no real satisfaction in finding ways to not win. Winning is the feeling that you really want. Because it validates and confirms all the work you have put in.
Eventually Tony Finau will find that sense of settlement with winning. The sweet spot where his technical. mental and emotional game all converge. Once it happens and he thinks of himself as a WINNER, then he will never ever want to lose that feeling!